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Cloud computing and other highly virtualized data center applications have placed many new and unique requirements on the data center network infrastructure. Conventional network protocols and architectures such as Spanning Tree Protocol and multichassis link aggregation can limit the scale, latency, throughput, and virtual machine mobility for large cloud networks. This has led to a multitude of new networking protocols and architectures. We present a tutorial on some of the key requirements for cloud computing networks and the various approaches that have been proposed to implement them. These include industry standards (e.g., TRILL, SPB, software-defined networking, and OpenFlow), best practices for standards-based data center networking (e.g., the open datacenter interoperable network), as well as vendor proprietary approaches (e.g., FabricPath, VCS, and Qfabric).
Date of Publication: September 2012